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CTA. 2003. Labour-saving equipment. Rural Radio Resource Pack 03/01. .
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57227
Munachoongo Mulaya, a field officer with the NGO Africare explains how labour-saving farm equipment can be a major advantage for communities who have lost much of their manpower to diseases such as HIV/AIDS
Cue: It?s widely acknowledged that HIV and AIDS pose an enormous threat to food production in many of Africa?s agriculture-dependent countries. For anyone to die from AIDS is a tragedy, but in Africa, many of those who are dying are the backbone of the farming labour force. How can those who are left behind, the very old, the very young, the widows and the orphans, manage to grow the crops they require for their own food and income needs? One answer, being promoted by the NGO Africare, is the use of labour saving technologies, that allow cultivation of sufficient areas of land with much less human labour than has been needed in the past. Africare has designed new implements, such as ploughs, planters and harvesters, which can be operated even by old people or fairly young children. Chris Kakunta recently visited a field day in his home country of Zambia, to find out more about the equipment Africare is promoting. He sent us this report. IN: ?I am here at the Africare ?? OUT: ??You are most welcome.? DUR?N 4?58? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Chris Kakunta reporting from Magoye, Zambia, on new labour-saving equipment being promoted by the NGO Africare. Transcript Kakunta I am here at the Africare stand, Magoye, Mazibuka, some 150 km south of Lusaka. Africare is one of the NGOs that has come to exhibit some of their equipment that they are promoting among small scale farmers at this year?s field day, particularly to small scale farmers who are vulnerable. And with me is Munachoongo Muleya, the field officer with the organisation. To start with Munachoongo, what are some of these equipment that you are trying to promote? Muleya What we are doing actually, we are looking at two main areas. We are looking at conservation tillage and crop processing. So what we have here are conservation tillage implements and we have post-harvest machinery. Kakunta How can the farmers benefit from this equipment that you are promoting? Muleya You know these days, Chris, we are talking of HIV and AIDS, and actually we are talking of farmers who have lost their animals due to Corridor [disease]. And what you can see here, we have the rippers, we have the groundnut lifter, we have the cultivators, we have the weed-sweep. These implements that you see can be used by a farmer who has maybe two oxen. That farmer can use and actually rip the field as much as he wants. Kakunta Let?s take for instance the ripper, this one, which is looking like a small plough really. Muleya Actually this ripper that we are seeing here, it?s a ripper that can be used by any farmer, and what we have done it we have just designed this attachment and then you put it onto the usual beam. You know these beams at our farms, the plough beams that we have, you know the farmers have this tendency of saying, ?No, they have brought up this new technology but it is very expensive.? Everything now we are making, it has to be fitted on the old beam, the old plough beam that we have on our farm. So you just have to attach the ripper to the beam which we have; then you use it to make your own furrows at the farm. Kakunta When you came up with all this equipment, what was in your mind? Muleya You know if you go to the villages now, Chris, you only find the old and the young. And actually in the villages there, the people who do most of the work are the women. Now we are saying, since we have the old men there at the farms, we have the old men in the village, if we bring these implements, and you can see on that poster Chris, that?s a poster for a maize sheller, and that?s a poster for a ripper, you know these men they get interested. The next thing you can see there is the ripper planter. Instead of the women following the animals everyday, the man will just put on the ripper planter, put the seed, he will make the furrow, he will plant, and the same ripper planter you are seeing has a covering mechanism. You rip, then it plants behind, and it covers. Then it does three jobs at once. So it will be easier for the old men in the village there to do the work alone. Kakunta How are the vulnerable, the women and children, the widows and orphans, how are they able to access some of this equipment. Do you have a mechanism in place? Muleya We don?t give direct loans, but we work with lending institutions like micro-bankers trust, and women finance co-operatives. These people, when we go into the villages, we go with them, and the farmers are able to access money from these lending institutions and are able to buy our machines. I can give you an example; that group that you can see there is Manyama farmers group. They were able to access that peanut butter machine and now here in Magoye, these women are making peanut butter. That means the family and themselves, even their husbands - you can see that husband there is getting interested, because there is money coming out. And that peanut butter, actually, when you talk of HIV and AIDS, they can use it for the porridge, for the children. They can put it in relish. And you know it makes life easier. Kakunta What about the health concerns. How are you addressing them? Muleya Actually Chris, on health, it?s not direct, that we go to those people who are directly affected by HIV/AIDS. We are targeting those people who are there in the villages, who have remained. We are talking of the old and the young. You know, the old ladies who are looking after the orphans and those orphans who have been left; we don?t want these people to make excuses, that?s why we have made sure that we have these implements which are labour saving, which can be used by the old women - the ripper can be used by an old man, even a young boy. The ripper will just go, within two hours it will be a hectare. And that woman, what she needs is just to go and put in the seed when the rains come. That means that woman will be able to harvest; she won?t even make an excuse that she had nothing to use, and that?s why she is going hungry now. These farmers have to change with time, because everything is changing. Even the rains are changing. Then why don?t you change the implements that you are using as a farmer? Kakunta I would like to thank you so much. Muleya You are most welcome. End of track.